NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20120002069: The SPASE Data Model for Heliophysics Data: Is it Working?
Publication date 2011-11-11
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), INFORMATION SYSTEMS, METADATA, SOLAR PHYSICS, DATA SYSTEMS, DATA MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION RETRIEVAL, DATA, DATA STORAGE, SPACE WEATHER, HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERFACE, DATA MINING, DATA RECORDING, DATA STRUCTURES, Thieman, James, King, Todd, Roberts, Aaron,
The Space Physics Archive Search and Extract (SPASE) Data Model was developed to provide a metadata standard for describing Heliophysics (Space and Solar Physics) data within that science discipline. The SPASE Data Model has matured over the many years of its creation and is presently represented by Version 2.2.1. Information about SPASE can be obtained from the website group.org. The Data Model defines terms and values as well as the relationships between them in order to describe the data resources in the Heliophysics data environment. This data environment is quite complex, consisting of Virtual Observatories, Resident Archives, Data Providers, Partnering Data Centers, Services, Final Archives, and a Deep Archive. SPASE is the metadata language standard intended to permeate the complexity and provide a common method of obtaining and understanding data. Is it working in this capacity? SPASE has been used to describe a wide range of data. Examples range from ground-based magnetometer data to interplanetary satellite measurements to space weather model results. Has it achieved the goal of making the data easier to find and use? To find data of interest it is necessary that all the data of importance be described using the SPASE Data Model. Within the part of the data community associated with NASA (supported through NASA funding) there are obligations to use SPASE and (0 describe the old and new data using the SPASE XML schema. Although this pan of the community is not near 100% compliance with the mandate, there is good progress being made and the goal should be reachable in the future. Outside of the NASA data community there is still work to be done to convince the international community that SPASE descriptions are w011h the cost of their generation. Some of these groups such as Cluster, HELlO, GAIA, NOAA/NGDe. CSSDP, VSTO, SuperMAG, and IUGONET have agreed to use SPASE. but there are still other groups of importance that need (0 be reached. It is also assumed that the terminology is sufficiently broad and the descriptions are sufficiently complete that researchers needing data of a specific type or from a specific period can find and acquire what they need. A valid SPASE description can be very brief or very thorough depending on the willingness of the author to spend the time necessary to make the description useful. There is evidence that users are finding what they need through the SPASE descriptions, and this standard is a big step forward in Heliophysics data location. Does SPASE make it easier to use the data once they are found,) Thorough descriptions of data using SPASE can describe the data down to the level of individual parameters and exactly how the data are organized and stored. Should the SPASE data descriptions be written in such a way that they can be automatically ingested and understood by software tools'? Heliophysics instruments are becoming morc versatile all the time and the complexity of the data makes it tedious and time consuming to write SPASE descriptions with this level of sophistication even with the improvement of the tools used to generate the descriptions. Is it better to just write human-readable descriptions of the data at the parameter level or to refer to references that provide this information? This is a debate that is presently taking place and software is being developed to test what is possible.
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